Saturday, May 7, 2011

You're Unofficial Spelling Queen and Grammar and Punctuation Police Representative. Your welcome.

I should probably spend some time today writing a blog about Mother’s Day. I should wax poetic about all things mom and mom-related. And I should heap some well-deserved love and praise upon my own mother and all the other mothers I know out there who have done a helluva job raising their kids.

Eventually I’ll get to that particular blog. But right now I need to vent for a minute. Or ten.

Now I realize that no one has ever officially bestowed upon me the title of Spelling Queen. Nor have I been offered a position with the Grammar and Punctuation Police. But sometimes – just sometimes – I need to give folks a little unsolicited assistance.

People: When someone thanks you, how do you respond? NO, not “your welcome.” It’s a contraction of You. Are. Welcome. Thus, “you’re welcome” is the correct response.

Arrrggh. “Your welcome” appears daily on Facebook and drives me absolutely nuts! I suppose I should be impressed that people are at least responding in a polite manner when someone thanks them for something.

But that's not the only error I see every day. Most of the time I just grind my teeth a little and move on. Or I try to laugh. But sometimes I just need to say something. Here, for example, are a few of the errors I saw on Facebook the other day:

“I’m barley awake this morning…” I wanted to say, “Well, I got plenty of sleep last night, so I’m oatay!” (Ooh, sorry, that was bad.)

This was a lovely response to someone who has been ill and I don't mean to make fun of it – but it did make me laugh. She wrote: “I continue to pray for you without seizing.” Yikes. Prayer is wonderful and all, but God forbid you suffer seizures while doing it. 

Another post amused me the other day. A woman attempted to use the word “repetitively” but spelled it, “repedatively.” Spell check, anyone? When her sister, the owner of the profile, tried to correct her, an interesting back-and-forth followed:

Sister 1: “…I will use it repedatively…”
Sister 2: “…when you can spell repeatedly, we’ll talk...”
Sister 1: “…not repeatedly, repedatively (over and over)…”
And then Sister 1 crowed about catching Sister 2 in an “error” and then proceeded to trash Sister 2 for suggesting the word repeatedly. I think the jury is still out on whether “repeatedly” or “repetitively” is more correct, but Sister 1 still didn’t “get” that she spelled repetitively wrong.

The thing is, I’m okay with people intentionally shortening words for emphasis or to convey a certain feeling or sentiment. Like calling a friend “bro” or typing “idk” instead of “I don’t know.” With the latter, at least it eliminates the potential error of typing “dont” instead of “don’t.”

Contractions must be more difficult than I realized.

I saw one post that had six errors in a single sentence. Evidently, this person thinks any word that ends in “s” must include an apostrophe. To wit: “To all my friend's that left comment's and message's...” Like I said, there were three more errors in that one sentence, but I think you get the gist.

Another pet peeve of mine is when people use “that” when referring to other people. As in, “friends that left...” I was of the understanding that it should be, “friends who left...”

But that's just me. Probably our language has gotten so casual that we don't need to be proper anymore. And I should probably just go with the flow and learn that communication is never again going to be what it used to be.

I blame it all on the whole texting thing. There are all sorts of shortcuts people have developed in order to reduce the wear and tear on their sensitive thumbs.

Back in ancient times – before the telephone was invented – people had to communicate by letter. Even when they wanted to extend a simple dinner invitation to Cousin Myrtle. It probably looked like a wedding invitation with all the fancy embossed stationary and wax stamps and those little slips of tissue paper – even though it may have merely been an invite to come over on Saturday night for some beans and wienies.

Or maybe not. I don’t really know since, fortunately, I’m not that old, and the telephone was invented long before I was born. I’m merely basing my observation on novels and old movies. (And, of course, no one in those old movies was ever served beans and wienies for Saturday night dinner.)

Nevertheless, those people knew how to communicate. They had pretty handwriting and their prose was all flowery and poetic and stuff.

On the other hand, I don't think I'd want to go back to those days. After all, I'm rather fond of the delete and backspace buttons on my computer. Plus, I really do prefer using my iPhone to communicate over dipping a quill in a bottle of ink and taking pen to paper. (My luck, I'd knock over the ink bottle.)

So, the upshot is that grammar and spelling happen to be my strong suit. Math, on the other hand, is not. If someone asked me to figure out the square root of anything, I couldn’t even pretend to conjure up an answer in my head. Nor would I be able to arrive at an answer even if someone handed me a calculator. I simply don’t know how to figure it out – if I ever did (apologies to whichever math teacher attempted to teach me the concept).

The point is, everyone has their strong suit and I'm not expecting anyone to be perfect.

But for those who can figure out square roots of numbers, but can't form a complete sentence without error, there is a simple answer. It's called “spell check.” And it comes in handy.

Here's another helpful tip: re-read what you write before hitting Enter or Send.

Hopefully I haven't alienated everyone who reads my blog. Please feel free to take your imaginary red pen to my writing. I'm quite sure I've made lots of errors. But other than the title, I don't think I've used “you're” when it should be “your.” Or vice versa.

Or have I? Maybe I'd better go back and read this again.

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